Konrad Hartmann: Experiment to determine the effect of pressure on temperature in Earth’s atmosphere

Posted: January 22, 2012 by tallbloke in atmosphere, climate, Energy, methodology

Many thanks for allowing me to present the results of my basic empirical experiment into the Nikolov and Zeller hypothesis at the Talkshop.


The Nikolov and Zeller hypothesis has generated thousands of comments across several climate sites, but sadly little in the way of empirical evidence. After the first few hundred comments I decided to check the basic concept with a physical experiment as the web discussion seemed to be making little progress.

The basic idea of the experiment was to expose two transparent test chambers to the same amount of shortwave radiation. Inside each chamber would be identically sized black surfaces and a probe thermometer shielded from the incoming light. The only difference between the chambers would be that one would be at standard atmospheric pressure, while the other would be held at an elevated internal pressure. If Nikolov and Zeller were correct, if both chambers started at the same temperature before illumination, then the chamber with the higher pressure should rise to a higher internal temperature when exposed to the shortwave radiation.

Originally I started by spraying the back half of PETG drink bottles black, setting the internal pressure with a fish tank pump, equalising the temperature of both bottles, then exposing to sunlight. This had some drawbacks. Firstly as temperatures rose, the black surface quickly overheated and after an internal temperature around 60C was exceeded buckling and distortion could occur changing the volume and surface area presented to the sunlight. Secondly a blog comment from Joules Verne suggested that regulating the pressure in the chambers would provide a more realistic result. I have revised the experiment accordingly and the method and typical results are presented below.

What is required

1. Two identical clear PETG drink bottles
2. Two identical probe type digital thermometers (0.1C resolution)
3. One rubber hot water bottle
4. Fish tank PVC tubing and connectors from garden irrigation systems
5. A 500 x 500mm square of plywood
6. A number of house bricks
7. Sheet of white EPS foam
8. Thin sheet of matt black card
9. Additional materials used – silicone sealant, small cable ties, bike pump, bike tire valve, small battery fan, aluminium foil

What was built

1. The probe thermometers were fitted into force fit holes drilled into the base of each petg bottle and sealed with silicone.
2. Two identically sized black card targets were cut and fitted into the interior of each bottle. These were sized so as to fit across the centre of the bottle having little contact with the surface and no contact with the thermometer probes
3. An EPS foam tray was created to hold the bottle steady and isolate them from each other
4. An EPS foam and foil sun shield was cut to prevent sunlight from hitting the thermometer probes
5. The hot water bottle was connected to one of the PETG bottles using PVC tubing and garden micro irrigation fittings and sealed with silicone and cable ties
6. A bike tire valve was introduced into the PVC tube with a T fitting.
7. A short length of PVC tube was fitted in a similar method to the second bottle and the end left open to the atmosphere

How the experiment was conducted

1. A bike pump was used to fill the air bladder (hot water bottle) and the inlet valve closed.
2. Both bottles were positioned in the EPS foam tray and oriented so as to receive an identical amount of sun.
3. Plywood was placed over the air bladder and 8 house bricks (25Kg) stacked on top producing constant pressure in one PETG bottle
4. The rig bottles were then shielded from the sun and their temperatures equalised using a small fan
5. the bottles were then exposed to the sun and the temperature rise in each observed
6. The experiment is then repeated after swapping which bottle was pressurised to eliminate equipment bias

What was observed

The temperature in each bottle rises quickly when exposed to the sun (to around 50C), however the bottle with the higher pressure always rises to a higher temperature. With intermittent sun on the day of the last test, a temperature differential of 2C was still observed within 5min. The pressure differential was estimated at 0.1 bar (25Kg / 250cm2)

Above image enhanced by co-moderator to make both readings clear, original image here


This would appear to be in agreement with the Nikolov and Zeller hypothesis. Nitrogen and Oxygen may be the true greenhouse gases on planet Earth.


There have been thousands of comments on this issue, but very little empirical evidence, despite the hypothesis being perfect for empirical testing. The experiment conducted is very basic, however I encourage others to try similar experiments and report their results. I would be particularly interested in seeing results from an experiment with a far higher chamber pressure. There have been thousands of comments on this issue, but very little empirical evidence, despite the hypothesis being perfect for empirical testing.

  1. Well done Konrad, experiments and measurements always beat thought bubbles.
    This is the sort of thing they should be doing in high schools and then let the students figure out problems and errors, fix the errors and try again.
    Thanks for your efforts

  2. Stephen Wilde says:

    Good effort.

    If anyone criticises the setup it should be easy to adjust it as necessary and repeat.

    Still, a shame that it is even necessary given that the Gas Laws have a provenance of about 150 years.

  3. erl happ says:

    A good demonstration of a first order effect from a denser atmosphere indicating more energy stored in the denser atmosphere delivering a higher temperature.

    Second order effects should deliver an increase in the global mean temperature due to an increase in the temperature of cooler parts of the globe (poles and the night side) due to the movement of the atmosphere, especially in winter. So, that would be a redistributive effect.

  4. CoRev says:

    Perhaps I’ve lost the bubble, but from this theory and experiment can we show why the temperature is rising?

  5. A. C. Osborn says:

    Another great simple experiment, well done Konrad.
    What is the fan for?

  6. John Silver says:

    Splendidly executed experiment! Love the use of bicycle parts.

  7. tallbloke says:

    Corev: temperatures aren’t rising.

    Anyway, no, this is a demo of what causes the bulk of the so called greenhouse effect.

  8. Roger Andrews says:

    There may be some wrinkles here I haven’t considered – and if there are I’m sure someone will point them out to me – but it seems that all this experiment does is validate Boyle’s Law, which the way it was taught to me in school states that pressure times volume divided by temperature is a constant. So we would expect a rise in temperature when pressure increases and volume stays the same.

    How about some comments on a real-life example? Here’s one. It plots global surface air temperature in degrees C (red, left scale, from GISS met station only) against sea level pressure in mb (blue, right scale, from HadSLP2) since 1880.

    Temperature and pressure move in the same sense up until about 1950 but then go off in opposite directions. According to Boyle’s Law this signifies no change in atmospheric volume before 1950 but an increase after 1950. Correct?

  9. Archonix says:

    As an initial proof of concept I like this idea. Perhaps it could be taken further by introducing more bottles and a less ad-hoc pressure regulator to the mix?

  10. tchannon says:

    Consider repeating the experiment using gas thermometers. Operation at other than atmospheric pressure should be possible.

    These are of great accuracy and used for Standards work. This would force the consideration of air volume and pressures.

    Aside for fun.

    Try this Royal Society work from 1900 where there is a lot of description and dog ate homework is not allowed, workings are shown, including error appendix. One of the authors, Pierre Chappuis, was responsible for the development of the gas thermometer into the highly accurate device used today.

    Looks to me as though this was a competitive experiment where the new fangled electrical resistance thermometer was pitched against the best gas thermometer of the day and both had to measure something quite difficult.

    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/194/252-261/37.full.pdf+html (100 pages, large scan file)

  11. I think it’s important to cross-reference this nice experiment with that of Graeff, who simply measures the temperature difference between the top and bottom of a tube in a highly controlled experiment, in order to gain a very precise measure of the thermal effect of pressure, that can then be correlated with a theoretically expected amount – and it comes close. Graeff’s paper about his experiment was referenced on the Loschmidt thread and it really repays careful reading. The graphs could have done with better labelling but that’s my only nitpick. The experiment simply begs to be repeated.

  12. P.G. Sharrow says:

    P.G. Sharrow says:
    January 22, 2012 at 4:52 am posted on the “The Gravity of Some Matter” thread;

    The energy of a molecule of gas is not the same as the temperature of the gas. The amount of energy in the space will give the temperature. As a gas is compressed into a smaller space the temperature is increased but the energy levels of the molecules is not changed. As the molecules rise the pressure decreases and the temperature decreases, energy does not change. Only the amount of energy in the space changes. Energy of the molecule can only change by direct contact,( conduction), or radiation. When energy is, charged or discharged, changed by Radiation, there is a rebound, You know action, reaction, that causes the apparent dance of collisions. This dance is cute but has little to do with the internal energy level of the molecule. That is increased by the adsorption of the correct frequency radiation or lost by the same means.
    Gravity does not increase the internal energy level of the molecules. It just changes the amount of compression and the space that the molecule and it’s energy occupies. Ergo! gravity causes heating but does not add energy! AS to the nit pickers about the energy of acceleration, deceleration, in that cute little dance. I can assure you that it is very small. pg

  13. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Oh yes! Konrad, nicely done. 😎 pg

  14. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G. Those acquainted in electrical affairs, like you, are less prone to be confused by words, as the electric realm is closer to pure energy behavior and closer to general principles. We all should study electricity and…music.

  15. Vuk says:

    Not exactly what you are discussing or looking for, but might be of some interest, the AMO is directly related to the Icelandic negative atmospheric pressure (with some years delay): http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/theAMO-NAO.htm

  16. A. C. Osborn says:

    Roger Andrews says:
    January 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm You plot GISS make believe??

  17. Roger Andrews says:

    A. C.

    Please tell me why GISS is make believe.

  18. Konrad says:

    @A.C. Osborn
    The fan is to equalize the bottle temperatures before illumination. Please excuse short reply from phone.

  19. Dan in Nevada says:


    I cut and pasted this (with a few edits) from another thread. It’s meant to be constructive:

    I think you are unnecessarily complicating things by regulating pressure. In fact, IMO, to properly test N&Z’s idea you SHOULD allow pressure to rise. Here’s how I am looking at it:

    Their hypothesis rests on the ideal gas law, PV=nRT. R is a constant and for considering their logic we will assume n (number of gas molecules) to be constant as well so all we need for our purposes is PV=T. If it’s the case that n remains constant, on a planet with an atmosphere, average surface P will always be the same. If some amount of heat energy is added to the atmosphere and P is constant, then

    P=Tx/Vx, where x is the amount both T and V are affected by the additional energy.

    Given the ideal gas law, this relationship has to hold, i.e. you can’t expect V to rise unless T does also (at least this is how I understand it).

    In your experiments, you don’t have a planet to work with so you are experimenting with the equally valid

    V=Tx/Px, where x is the amount both T and P are affected by the extra energy (IGL).

    By regulating P, you are muddying this relationship. In addition, you are allowing n to change by allowing gas to escape your container into the bladder as pressure rises.

    With a closed system, a further enhancement would be a pressure gauge to measure whether absolute pressure and absolute temperature indeed rise proportionately as energy is added.

    It might be wise to have a relief valve of some sort if you do keep the system closed; otherwise you’ve got the makings of a pipe bomb. A few years ago, we put a little liquid N2 in a 2 liter plastic bottle, capped it, then put that in a 55-gallon drum half full of water. When the N2 absorbed enough heat to gasify and expand, the bottle blew up and ripped the seam on the steel drum (which had no top). Amazing amount of energy.

    Keep up the impressive work,

  20. Vuk says:

    Geomagnetic storm is changing rapidly the intensity of Earth’s magnetic field. Any earthquake sensitive area which has already gone ‘critical’ may snap in the next few hours into major quake at Mag 6 or above.

  21. Konrad says:

    The temp in the pressurized bottle does indeed rise more quickly when its volume is fixed. However this is in part due to pressure increase as the bottle heats. Essentially a feedback effect. As Joules Verne pointed out, the real atmosphere is almost free to expand. Physical inertia does provide some restriction to expansion in the atmosphere, but not as much as a closed bottle.

  22. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @Dan in Nevada says:
    January 22, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Change of pressure would have invalidated the experiment.

    The creation of the “pressure regulator” was very creative and solved a problem in the initial experiment. pg

  23. Dan in Nevada says:

    Konrad says:
    January 22, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Konrad, please re-read my post. Crucially, because of real-life constraints, your experiments are much easier done by holding V constant and allowing P and T to vary in proportion to each other. N&Z’s thesis is that for planetary bodies, P is constant and V and T can vary in proportion to each other.

    Based on the ideal gas law, your experiments are totally valid IMO. But to maintain a one-to-one correspondence to what N&Z are saying, it is much, much less complicated to allow P to vary with energy input.

    I think what you are saying is that you are trying to allow V to vary to try to more accurately simulate what N&Z are saying. But this actually ends up making things less clear. Consider the following:

    PV=T (ideal gas law)

    P=T/P (N&Z) Second equation should say “P=T/V” (N&Z)
    [ see msg @ January 23, 2012 at 12:41 am –co-mod Tim]

    V=T/P (what you are doing; more accurately, what I think you should be doing)

    Again, I salute you for doing where the rest of us are talking. I hope you take this in the spirit in which it is intended.


  24. Doug Proctor says:


    1) re: the idea that the atmosphere has no “ceiling” and thus the pressures do not change materially, of course our atmosphere changes pressures: this is why barometers work for weather! The observed changes could be reconciled with the “no ceiling” consideration as time- delay factor, i.e. the causative factors of change work faster than the pressure events can be modified by expansion of the atmosphere. In a practical sense, then, the atmosphere does have a ceiling (though not perfect), and the objection does not apply (as a practical matter, though the quantum of observed temperature changes would be reduced).

    2) re: the combined gas law, PV=nRT.

    First, at an identical, stabilized (by fan) temperature, the two cannisters have the change in “P” of one accounted for by the change in “n” in the other. This way PV/nR are the same.

    When the sunlight energy is transferred from the black paper to the air, for T to rise in either, P also has to rise (as V, n & R are constants). For PV = nRT to be maintained within each bottle, in the warmer (and initially higher pressure) bottle, the pressure has to have risen, but has the amount PV/RT per “n” changed?

    Is the energy/molecule greater or are there just more molecules? We freeze to death at high altitude not because the “temperature” of the molecules are low, but because the density of molecules is low.

    The conclusion I get is that with a denser atmosphere more energy is captured by the air not because the efficiency of capture is higher, but that the opportunities for capture are higher, i.e. the efficacy of the capture process is greater.

    3) The experiment did not use dry air. The GHG effect of water vapour has not been eliminated.

    Perhaps my thought bubbles are jumbled, but I see this as a proof that, at least in the beginning,

    a) more blankets keep you warmer,
    b) you may not realise it, buy you are always at the point of getting colder because your blankets are thin.

    But I think this clever experiment clearly shows that denser air retains, at least for the short term, more radiated energy than less dense. What we need to know wrt CAGW is what the historical, global pressures have been. If we can see a very minute change in pressures at surface, we may well be in the realm of explaining where the very minute temperature change of 0.7C is.

    Within the limits of the data, what is, then, the relationship between increased air pressure and increased retained energy/observed temperature?

    Well, well done!

  25. Greg Elliott says:


    You might repeat the experiment varying the pressure and see if you can plot the resulting function and see how well it matches prediction. Pop bottles will take a fantastic amount of pressure (10+ atmospheres) and deform before they fail.

  26. Archonix says:

    I find it hard to believe this sort of experiment hasn’t been performed before. There must be something in the literature about this.

  27. Archonix says: January 23, 2012 at 12:21 am

    I find it hard to believe this sort of experiment hasn’t been performed before. There must be something in the literature about this

    That’s exactly why I put in a reference to Graeff’s experimental work. AFAICT “this sort of experiment” is exactly what Graeff has done, and done superbly.

  28. Archonix says:

    Evidently I need to read the thread better. 🙂

  29. Dan in Nevada says:

    Dan in Nevada says:
    January 22, 2012 at 9:14 pm
    Stupid me. Second equation should say “P=T/V” (N&Z)

    [ corrected –Tim]

  30. Greg Elliott says:

    Lucy Skywalker says:
    January 23, 2012 at 12:37 am
    That’s exactly why I put in a reference to Graeff’s experimental work.

    Wow! Just when you think the science is settled.

    Reading the material, Graeff’s work upholding Loschmidt is hugely relevant to the discussion. The thought experiments over at WUWT (as well as much of what is taught) obviously rely on the assumption that Loschmidt was wrong.

    But if this was never proven, with Loschmidt’s track record this was not a safe assumption. This guy was clearly no lightweight. It could well be that science has been walking down the wrong path for 150 years and we have built a tower of theory on a shaky foundation.

    Reminds me of Newton and Einstein. The 2nd law still applies, but it is modified in the presence of a gravitational force field.

  31. kuhnkat says:

    Roger Andrews,

    the issue is that once the tire pump or, in this case, the bricks and gravity, stops ADDING energy the higher pressure area should continue to radiate until it achieves ambient temperature. Except we have a higher density of particles due to the higher pressure. What this experiment shows is that the particles repulsion from each other working against gravities or a containers boundaries provides the extra energy…. I think.


  32. wayne says:

    Greg Elliott says:
    January 23, 2012 at 1:43 am
    It could well be that science has been walking down the wrong path for 150 years and we have built a tower of theory on a shaky foundation.
    — —
    Greg, I can see that, can’t you? How many machines and structures used when developing the thermodynamic law extended multiple kilometers in height? Huh? None. That is the path I have been investigating, especially since most of the equations were set down also 150 years ago. I mean, how could they have measured, or ever noticed, such an incredibly small temperature effect when vertically mankind was limited to a mere 100 meters of so in height in one single device where the measurements were taken. They could climb mountains but the devices used to measure where not as big as mountains.

    It is an interesting problem.

  33. AusieDan says:

    Greg Elliott – you said QUOTE It could well be that science has been walking down the wrong path for 150 years and we have built a tower of theory on a shaky foundation. UNQUOTE

    That is exactly correct.
    N&Z anre not just proposing a new theory.
    Theirs is a new Paradigm.

  34. The assumption that one could achieve work from the temperature difference is wrong. It is necessary to work against gravity to to hold a wire up at the lower temperature. Even more energy would be require if the “machine” operating with the temperature difference was also up in the air. That is the problem with thought bubbles there is no consideration of a practical outcome and looking at all the forces and boundary limits involved. I see no conflict with the second law of thermodynamics. Work is being done by gravity and work has to be done to oppose gravity. When work is done there will always be an increase of entropy (even though it may not be measurable)

  35. AusieDan says:

    I have seen a video of a similar experiment, but unfortunately the URL does not work and the author no longer answers emails.

    Basically he took two cycinders and stood them vertically rather than horizontally.
    He filled one with arir and the other with CO2 from a small cylinder.
    He sealed both vessels and allowed time to pass, until their temperatures equated.

    Then he turned on two sets of IR lamps and observed, as warmists would predict, that the temperature in the CO2 bottle rose higher than the one containing normal air.
    That is the experiment that has been done repeatedly since John Tyndall first carried it out over 100 years ago.

    But there is more!
    The experimenter then repeated the experiment, but this time he first made two small holes in the top of the containers.
    This allowed the pressure in each vessel to remain equal (at normal atmospheric pressure).
    He found that the temperature in each vessel rose as before, but not to such a high reading as in the sealed vessel experiment.
    Here is the clincher – the temperature in each vessel rose to the same level, showing that at the same pressure, CO2 responds to heat by rising to exactly the same level as the normal mixture of gasses in the air.
    All gasses are greenhouse gases and each respond identically when heated.

    It would be very good if Konrad Hartman or someone else replicated this experiment.
    N&Z have shown that the surface temperature of solar bodies varies as a function ob both the distance from the sun (irradiance) and their atmospheric pressure at the surface.
    These two examples I have given demonstrate how at constant pressure, additional heat increases temperature regardless of atmospheric content and seperately that at constant heat input, temperature rises with pressure.

    I forgot to mention that as CO2 expands faster than air, increased heat input will increase both its temperature and pressure to a greater extent than air, when confined in a sealed vessel. That however, is nothing to do with the real world.

  36. Michael Hart says:

    1) I don’t see how the experiment allows you to draw any conclusions about the properties of “greenhouse gases” because the chemical composition of the gases remains unchanged. Why not repeat the experiment using carbon dioxide as one of the gases (or some other gases with higher and lower heat capacities) ?

    2) A priori, the results are in line with what I would have expected, irrespective of N&Z. There is more mass inside the pressurized bottle. That mass would be able to more effectively transfer heat to the thermometer by conduction and convection. Witness silvered-glass thermos-flasks for keeping drinks hot: They are also evacuated to reduce heat transfer.

  37. Greg Elliott says:

    wayne says:
    January 23, 2012 at 3:49 am
    Greg, I can see that, can’t you?

    I believe we are on the same side of the fence. There would appear to be no theoretical difficulty in gravity separating matter according to temperature.

    It was not known at the time of Loschmidt, Boltzmann and Maxwell that gravity acted on mass and energy. Newton’s Law only applied to mass. Many scientists today apparently still believe this.

    However, Einstein showed that gravity applies to both mass and energy. Thus the bending of light near stars and the prediction of black holes.

    There is no reason to believe that gravity doesn’t apply to other forms of energy. It most certainly will affect IR radiation from GHG. That is clearly demonstrated by light, so why not heat?

    Also, hotter material have higher energy levels and thus should have greater gravitational attraction than colder materials of the same mass, according to e=mc2. This would help explain why gravity is able to thermally separate material to the point of nuclear fusion and beyond.

    Gravity remains the least understood force in nature. We don’t know the cause or the force carrier. We don’t even have a good handle on the speed of gravity. We are told that nothing escapes gravity in a black hole. Time itself stands still on the event horizon. Yet the black hole allows gravity to escape. Which suggests gravity may not be a force at all.

    Yet we have scientists telling us that gravity cannot separate temperature based on what? What they have been taught in school, based on a 150 year old dispute, that has never been experimentally resolved?

  38. Brian H says:

    I think you don’t really grok just how big a number c^2 is. You’d have to have immense energy fluxes and implausibly sensitive instruments to detect mass changes etc. in anything short of a cyclotron. E↔m exchange certainly is not responsible for density/temperature sorting at normal atmospheric scales.

  39. markus says:

    Cross post WUWT

    Mr Eschenbach,

    “If you were to mention which laws of physics you think Anthony is denying it would assist us all.”

    For, matter without potential energy, there is none, kinetic energy cannot be potential energy, radiation is the enhancement of potential energy to the state of geomagnetism. Energy from our Sun cannot penetrate the potential energy of Earth, unless we have irreversibly entered its magnet fields. Kinetic energy from our Sun cannot obtain the properties of potential energy, why, because it has no mass.

    Energy doesn’t equal mass. It is the energy retained by mass, from creation of the universe, that cannot be penetrated by the remnants of that creation.



    [Reply] Far out! Now, about the empirical evidence presented in this thread… 😉

  40. malagaview says:

    Roger Andrews says: January 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm
    Temperature and pressure move in the same sense up until about 1950 but then go off in opposite directions.

    Thank you for contributing to the growing body of evidence regarding the manipulation of GISS data.

  41. Wayne Job says:

    Brian H,
    The deritives of the reciprocal of E=MC2 are very small numbers but are those used to make an alignment for an atomic weapon. It is not the size of the number that is important, it is it’s harmonic in relation to all else, so size is not important.

    Around the end of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century concensus science was born. Thus free thinkers were restrained and ridiculed and science died, new fields flourished but the established atrophied.

    One could describe new theories or invention as some what Heath Robinish but as discovery evolves things become less complex, who could possibly have thought that the entire process of the establishment of life and it’s evolvement is only four bits of information.

    The physical sciences are mired in Heath Robinson explanations and are continually inventing new imaginary friends to make their theories work, 150 particles give or take and the one ring to bind them all, the god particle, billions of dollars later!!

    “Climate scientists” have embraced the new science and have invented imaginary friends, they identified their god particle CO2 and have proceeded to give it magical qualities, these are to numerous to mention.

    As in all other things in nature the temperature of our planet shall be explained in simple terms, that do not require imaginary friends or esoteric science. The basic modulation of why we get hotter or colder is external to our little blue globe, and continually blaming us is apt to make me for one a tad testy.

  42. malagaview says:

    Wayne Job says: January 23, 2012 at 11:25 am

    The physical sciences are mired in Heath Robinson explanations and are continually inventing new imaginary friends to make their theories work, 150 particles give or take and the one ring to bind them all, the god particle, billions of dollars later!!

    Wonderfully written 🙂

  43. Paul Bahlin says:

    I’m cross posting here at the request of tallbloke. Initially comment was in the latest Nikolov and Zeller response……

    It seems to me that radiation budgets, gas laws, conduction, planetary motions, and convection have been so conflated as to become incomprehensibly complex. I’m only an engineer with a smattering of physical oceanography in my background and in my experience nature simply doesn’t support such twisted scenarios as are being put out there in the climate debate. So I would like to take a wack at simplifying.

    My first simplifying assumption is that all of the various horizontal and vertical motions induced in our fluid ‘atmosphere’ (I’m including the oceans) are nothing more than energy exchange mechanisms. They convert potential to kinetic and back again with no net (planetary) energy change. This means convection, water cycle, ocean storage, winds, etc. contribute nothing to the argument.

    Secondly, I say it’s a given that the net radiative balance has to be maintained to conserve (planetary) energy.

    Next, I conjecture that the atmosphere, irrespective of what it is composed of, steals energy on the daylight side (by conduction) from the grey body that would otherwise have been radiated to space then gives it back at night (by conduction). As long as the net daily energy of the black body remains unchanged from that of an atmosphere free planet then the net radiation to space remains unchanged. Energy is conserved. It’s like you have a giant (perfect) spring that is compressed in the daytime and released at night, always giving back what it takes to compress it. It makes no difference whether you put an enormous amount into the compression (Venus) or a little tiny amount (Mars).

    This next bit is tricky and also key. Many people conflate the temperature of the earth and the temperature of the atmosphere. i.e. we speak of them as if they are the same thing. They aren’t at all the same of course and I maintain that it is possible to have a constant mean temperature planet, our grey body that is maintaining radiative balance, (the solid and liquid part) with a non radiating elevated temperature atmosphere near the surface. Go stand on a beach in the sun in your bare feet. if you think air temp and surface temp are the same.

    Lastly lets go back to the perfect spring. How can a gas (let’s make it an ideal non GHG one) get hotter than the grey body says it should be. That brings me to Konrad’s experiment. The ideal gas law is an energy balance equation. On the left we have pressure and volume. On the right we have a constant, the amount of gas (however you choose to quantify it), and temperature. The experiment is essentially one that adds radiant energy to two equal volumes at different constant pressures. Each bottle has an equation where the left side is held constant (PV). The implication is that each of their energies is constant but unequal. When we add radiant energy each bottle’s gas heats up due to conduction with the black body. PV can’t change. Therefore, on the right side something’s got to give. Molecules go down. Temperature goes up. The energy in the bottles has not changed. Both bottles experience an increase in temperature but the higher pressure bottle has more temp increase.

    Could it be that the higher pressure bottle has to let more molecules out than the one at atmospheric bottle to maintain constant pressure? I think so. If I’m right then the temperature in that one has to go up more than the temp of the bottle that only had to let out a little bit of gas. I’m not bright enough to do the math but it does seem logical enough for someone to go about it who is.

    If you can safely ignore everything going on convectively, etc. then you’re left with a tall column of gas that is being heated by conduction at the bottom. For a given volume at its base then, it has to let out some molecules (just like Konrad’s experiment) and increase its T in order to maintain the constant P necessary to hold up the column. The experiment is behaving exactly as I would expect a little volume of near surface atmosphere to behave. It can have an elevated T without modifying the planet’s radiative balance at all.

    The higher the pressure is, the higher the energy is that will be found near the surface. Higher pressure means more molecules being let out of the ‘bottle’ during daylight which means higher T. As long as the planet rotates the ‘spring’ is doing its thing maintaining the radiative balance while getting as hot as it wants.

  44. Paul Bahlin says:

    BTW Konrad, or any other adventurous soul, wouldn’t it be great to see the plywood and bricks replaced with a way to introduce a series of constant pressures into one bottle?

    A plot of T vs. P would be quite interesting.

  45. Paul Bahlin says:

    A family of curves of P vs. T for a variety of gasses would also be compelling.

  46. Roger Andrews says:


    “Thank you for contributing to the growing body of evidence regarding the manipulation of GISS data.”

    All I’m trying to do here is to insert some observational data into the equation. We can theorize and perform experiments until we’re blue in the face, but at some point we have to check to see whether the theory fits observations.

    So far I’ve run two data checks on the ATE theory. The first was a comparison of surface pressure against the temperature difference between the poles and the tropics. In this case the theory fits observations. The second was the graph I linked to above, which shows a disconnect between surface air temperature and sea level pressure. In this case the theory doesn’t fit observations, and I’m looking for some reasoned discussion as to why this might be.

    And it isn’t because the GISS surface temperature data set is manipulated, because it isn’t, or at least not to the extent that makes any difference. If you don’t believe me, feel free to perform your own independent verification. It shouldn’t take you more than a couple of years.

  47. tallbloke says:

    Roger A: Before we could start trying to interpret your graph, there’s a bunch more stuff we ned to know about the pressure dataset. Starting with the scale on the Y axis. Millibar? Pascal?

    Was there a chnge in data gathering around 1960. Is the earlier data re-analised. Where can we find meta data?

    The volume of the atmosphere likely increases when things warm up under a multi-decadally more active sun. Unless there’s a constraining force like varying gravity? No. Under a regime of constant gravity and and expanding atmosphere, I would expect to see temperature rise while pressure stayed pretty constant.

    Again, what is the pressure scale please?

  48. A. C. Osborn says:

    Roger Andrews says:
    January 22, 2012 at 8:00 pm
    Because as I am sure you know GISS bears no relationship with known Historical data, past temperatures have been lowered and current temperatures raised above other datasets.

  49. A. C. Osborn says:

    Roger Andrews says:
    January 23, 2012 at 2:57 pm “And it isn’t because the GISS surface temperature data set is manipulated, because it isn’t, or at least not to the extent that makes any difference.”
    If you really really believe that then you obviously do not spend enough time on the right Forums.

  50. tallbloke says:

    Please, there are a hundred and one websites where people spit venom at each other about the GISS dataset. Can we just accept the late C20th rise in general and discuss the matter in hand. Pressure and temperature and volume.

  51. A. C. Osborn says:

    I agree Tallbloke and the only way that I see you can do that is by individual Station where you have the actual temp & pressure at the same time. Not by using “manipulated datasets.
    I think it was Tim Channon who did just that on Bart’s Thread where VS was discussing the “random walk”

  52. A. C. Osborn says:

    PS He was mainly interested in Humidity/Temp though.

  53. colliemum says:

    Sorry I’m late with my congratulations, Konrad – but congrats, anyway!

    And a huge thank-you from me for showing us precisely how you laid out your experiment. It was a joy to read, and, incidentally, answered my stupid question from the N & Z thread about those bricks.

    Just generally, it is great to see how one person, with a few simple things, can set up an experiment to illustrate a new approach (N & Z).
    I do appreciate this very much indeed.

  54. tallbloke says:

    ACO: If the pressure scale is millibar the matter isn’t even worth discussing in my opinion. A 0.2% wimble in 100 years. Up and down.

    Similarly with the temperature. 1K is a change of ~0.3% (likely over-egged by up to 30% if the pressure reading is correct) in terms of absolute temperature in 130 years. So what?

    But what is interesting is if we can tease out of the data something which tells us about accumulated solar energy, because that will tell us something about the way the oceans sequester heat over longer periods. And that will tell us how well buffered we are against abrupt changes in solar activity levels. A matter of no small moment just now.

  55. Roger Andrews says:

    Hi TB:

    SLP is in hectopascals, which I believe are the same as millibars. The text above the graph in the earlier post in fact says “mb”.

    There was no change in data-gathering procedures around 1960 that I know of and no re-analysis of early data. Metadata are buried somewhere in the GHCN data files, but going through the records for thousands of stations would take for ever and I doubt it would tell you much.

    I used HadSLP2 because it’s the only SLP data set that contains both land and marine observations and therefore the only one that can be considered global. However, it’s adjusted “using a reduced-space optimal interpolation procedure, followed by superposition of quality-improved gridded observations”, and I have no idea what this did. So if you’re looking for a weak spot in the data, pick HadSLP2.

    But don’t pick GISS “Meteorological Stations Only”. There are a number of invalid temperature data sets in common use – including the HadCRUT3 data set used by the IPCC – but GISSmet isn’t one of them. I’ve done more than enough work to confirm that.

    Let’s also not get into the mode of assuming that any data set that doesn’t fit our preconceived ideas of how the earth’s climate works must be wrong. That’s what the Team does.

  56. tallbloke says:

    Hi Roger: Thanks for that. So as I thought, the percentage change in temperature is in the same ballpark as the percentage change in pressure. OK.

    So the interesting question (much more interesting than whether in fact what the team does is fiddle with the data until it matches their pre-conceived ideas (NZ temps, the 1945 problem etc)) is how pressure and temperature relate via the mediating effects of multidecadal changes in ozone levels, co2 levels, cloud albedo and total precipitable water vapour content. Near surface humidity has been falling over the 1960-2010 period, right? There were some nasty droughts in the late C20th. Pressure fell slightly after 1960, less atmospheric mass? No, because that would cause cooling. So – must be slight inflation of the troposphere. That’s consistent with NASA’s discovery of the thermosphere shrinking by 30% since the sun went quiet in 2004. What goes up, must come down. But expansion means cooling gas right? Must have been more than offset by solar variation then.

    Hey, it an off the cuff starter for 10 narrative, don’t be too hash. 🙂

    Game on!

  57. Paul Bahlin says:

    Here’s a thought experiment. If you imagine a column of our atmosphere as having constant number of molecules, averaged over time of course, and constant surface pressure as well, then its volume is an excellent proxy for the mean temperature of the column and/or its mean energy content. This implies that the TOA, as a proxy for volume, is a good proxy for temp changes doesn’t it?

    Increase temperature and the volume is the only unconstrained variable that can move up with it. If you know the mean column temperature then you could predict the temperature at any altitude (including zero) right?

  58. Paul Bahlin says:

    What I’m smelling here is an analog for the ideal gas law, something like a state equation for a gravity constrained column of gas.

    Is there such a thing? Would it be something new?

  59. Roger Andrews says:

    TB, thanks for that.

    Earlier you said that the +/- 0.2 mb observed SLP change is too small to be worth discussing. You may well be right.

    The N&Z paper contains two formulas relating surface temperature to surface pressure that I’m having trouble with. But over the last 5 million years N&Z’s Figures 8 and 9 show a +/-4C decrease in surface temperature corresponding to a +/- 8kPa decrease in pressure, which works out to 80mb if I’ve done the conversion right. And if 4C of cooling causes an 80mb pressure decrease then the +/-1C of warming we’ve had over the last 100 years or so should have caused a +/- 20mb pressure increase, all other things being equal. (Yes, I know they aren’t, but right now I’m just looking for a ball-park number.)

    Don’t know what to make of this, but maybe I have the numbers wrong. If you can get the N&Z formulas to work maybe you could check me out. 🙂

  60. tallbloke says:

    Hi Roger A: Well, if N&Z are right, you may have causality back to front there. Pressure change –> Temperature change seems to be their proposal. Remember they are talking about long term stuff in general, not weather systems.

    As for the linearity of your assumption, I don’t know.

  61. tchannon says:

    My views on these global datasets not being based on actual data are probably known. I do not accept local global warming, where plenty of data shows no such warming where that data shows signs of being straight. It is harder to make a competent station installation colder than warmer, hence the incompetence skew is to warmer.

    There is no long term atmospheric pressure dataset. (not that I can find)

    What follows is a smell of a very large can of worms.

    I will now give you a link to evidence of data manipulation where the results are published as actual station data. This is located on the CRU server but the operators are Met Office. this is the EMULATE project. This is adjusting station data to fit model/gridded.


    “Secondly, we adjust the series such that the monthly mean is equal to a
    reference monthly mean (either the corresponding ADVICE station series, that
    interpolated from the nearest ADVICE grid point, or from the nearest HadSLP
    grid point). Specifically, the monthly means are calculated from the daily
    series and compared to the reference ADVICE/HadSLP monthly value. The
    difference in monthly means is then used to adjust the daily SLP values. There
    was some concern about jumps in adjustments at the end of each month, so a
    slight smoothing was applied to the monthly adjustments.”

    (I have not shown examples of stations because I do not want to cause trouble for innocent parties who have no choice but to comply)

    You might find this illuminating

    Click to access forcings.pdf

    “(2) EMULATE

    EMULATE is a set of daily 5-degree fields for the North Atlantic and Europe spanning 1850-2003. This data set is called EMSLP and has been produced by the EMULATE collaboration, of which the Met Office is a partner (Ansell et al, 2005. Journal of Climate, in press). EMSLP will be available from the EMULATE web site at the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit and from the Hadley Centre web site . The UEA CRU EMULATE web site also contains the daily pressures for the 86 stations which were used to make the fields.”

    This will boil down to all roads lead to Rome, you will only get the official view.

  62. Roger Andrews says:


    The EMULATE results aren’t “published as actual station data”. They’re published as a gridded data set based on station data, and there’s been no attempt to cover anything up. The gridded values and the corrected and uncorrected records for the 86 stations used to develop the gridded values are freely available to anyone who wants to check them at:


    EMULATE may give the wrong answer, but there’s nothing fraudulent about the way it’s presented. And the quote you present as evidence of manipulation says nothing more than “we adjusted the records to a common baseline”.

  63. mkelly says:

    Cementafriend says: “Work is being done by gravity and work has to be done to oppose gravity.”

    A minor quibble gravity CAUSES work to be done but does not do work. As I said minor.

  64. kuhnkat says:


    what is doing the work when a planet captures an object in a trajectory that would otherwise miss it?? What is doing the work when that object is accelerated into the surface of that planet??

  65. Lars P. says:

    This is not exactly on topic, so apologies for it, would like to understand your pov to the idea of oceans working like a heat pump.
    I posted it here at wuwt but fear that it will get lost in the hundreds of posts.
    The idea with the oceans driving the climate is not new, I learned it from Stephen Wilde but there are a couple of points that I haven’t seen yet mentioned that may be worth more attention:
    I repost it here:
    – water has an absorption band that allows for the visible light to penetrate deep – up to 200 m and dissipating the energy over a 200m column of water which is totally different to heating the rocks at the surface. This is why water is not heating up to 60-70°C at the surface – less radiance
    – water has a heat capacity that trumps almost any other element, rocks or atmosphere
    – the latent heat needed to freeze, unfreeze and enthalphy
    – the formation of ice at the surface – ice and snow are very bad for heat transfer – so when the oceans are frozen they don’t lose heat through radiation. This reduces the radiating area of the oceans, ice acts like a thermal skin there where the oceans would be else losing too much heat.
    – with 1000 Wm-2 solar insulation at equator & tropics there is enough heat to unfreeze these parts of the oceans which will not freeze during the night – heat loss only at the very superficial skin through radiation is not enough to freeze the oceans here, no IR radiation from below as water is opaque to IR
    The point would be that water gets heated differently, not like a rock but to the deep with 800-1000 W/m2 day and 300-400 in the night there is an additional heat that gets stored and can be redistributed. As long as the water is not frozen it will be above 0°C, once frozen it will no longer radiate to space as ice does not conduct heat – so in such case heat loss is minimal.
    Only in addition to this effect will be other ATE warming effects as water will warm the atmosphere above 0°C there where water is not frozen.

  66. Greg Elliott says:

    Brian H says:
    January 23, 2012 at 9:58 am
    I think you don’t really grok just how big a number c^2 is.

    The current thermodynamic theories assume energy has zero gravitational field and time is constant in a gravitation field. These are both wrong assumptions.

  67. tallbloke says:

    My off the cuff narrative missed an important point according to Dan:

    Dan in Nevada says:
    January 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Joules Verne says:
    January 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm
    “Dan in Nevada says:
    January 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    P = T / V

    Yes but the atmosphere’s volume is not fixed. The pressure is fixed. If you heat or cool the atmosphere the pressure doesn’t change – the volume changes instead. If temperature doesn’t control pressure then it follows that pressure doesn’t control temperature. The author’s contention that pressure sets temperature is thus disproven. QED”

    Joules, You didn’t read very carefully. I stipulated that pressure is fixed. That’s what I meant by “a pressure P will develop and remain constant because the planet’s gravity is constant and n does not change”. “Constant” and “fixed” are synonymous for purposes of my example. That being the case, only V and T can vary AND according to the ideal gas law they will vary proportionate to each other, i.e. if V doubles then T must double.

    For you to say that is wrong, you have to be saying that a heated atmosphere will neither be warmer (have a higher temperature) or occupy more volume than the same atmosphere at absolute zero. If you argue that the volume WILL be greater, then the ideal gas law apparently requires the temperature will be greater also.


    Given that NASA tells us the upper layer in the atmosphere which causes drag on LEO satellites shrunk by 30% after the Sun went quiet in 2004 it’s a fair assumption that it was expanded more than usual when the Sun was more active than usual between 1934 and 2004. Seems likely to me this was partly because the atmosphere below the outer layer was shrinking and expanding too.

    I think we may have found the fingerprint of global warming. 🙂

  68. tallbloke says:

    Dan also gives us this gem:

    Dan in Nevada says:
    January 23, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Joel Shore says:
    January 23, 2012 at 6:13 am
    “tallbloke says:

    Now, The practical demonstration by Konrad Hartmann in the recent post on my site (linked above in an earlier comment) shows that higher pressure does indeed enhance the sensible atmospheric heat generated by the passage solar radiation. This is an empirical result. No conservation law is harmed during the process. Empirical reality cannot break laws of nature!

    Sorry…but one poorly conceived and carried out experiment does not overturn more than a century’s worth of physics even when it tells you what you want to believe. Konrad hasn’t even tried to figure out how his data, even if correct, could be compatible with well-understood physics.

    It is really bizarre what you guys seem to think constitutes evidence!”

    I’ve been doing a little self-educating via Google – got to love the inter-webs! What Konrad has been investigating has been known as Gay-Lussac’s law since the early 1800′s. According to Wikipedia, it should really be attributed to Guillaume Amontons who published it around 1700~1702. So, Joel Shore believes Konrad is attempting to overturn a century’s worth of physics when he’s actually confirming 3 centuries worth of physics. It’s not worth pointing out that this could conceivably be considered “compatible with well-understood physics”, but I will anyway. Bizarre or not, I’ll consider three centuries’ worth of accepted physics as evidence.

    The only reason Konrad is taking on these experimental chores is to try to rebut the notion that “settled team science” somehow trumps physical laws that have been accepted for literally centuries and have never been refuted. I’m beginning to see what N&Z are up against.

    N&Z are claiming, I believe, that Charles’s law, a corollary to Gay-Lussac’s law, is what governs the surface temperature of planetary bodies with atmospheres. That’s harder to test since you have to allow the gas volume to vary, but what Konrad is doing is completely valid since everything is based on the IGL (PV=nRT). This is a very simple algebraic expression that even I can wrap my old brain around. Why is it so hard for actual physicists?

  69. Konrad says:

    Dans’ comment may be a gem, but after reviewing some of the comments at WUWT, I’m not sure casting pearls before Joel will do much good…

  70. Paul Bahlin says:

    One of the great things about a blog like this is that it allows for instant feedback. One of the bad things is that instant feedback is sometimes not well thought out. On balance it’s a good thing because it catalyzes thinking, something we all need to do more of.

    In my case, extra thinking on my part has led to the belief that there is a problem with the setup here. When you add energy to the bottles they both exhaust more energetic molecules. In the case of the ‘atmospheric’ bottles, these molecules get exhausted from the system. In the case of the pressurized bottle they don’t. They go into the hot water bottle where they can then contribute to an overall increase in the pressure of the system.

    I’m not sure this is enough to cause the temperature differential but this possible distortion should be eliminated. I’d suggest a pressure gauge and exhaust valve as a more unbiased setup.

  71. Konrad says:

    You are correct, if the volume is constrained the test will over read. That is what the plywood and the bricks are for. Placed on the bladder they ensure pressure is contant while volume can expand.

  72. Paul Bahlin says:

    @ Konrad

    grrrrrrr. Forgot the bricks create a constant pressure.

    Still…. How about the fact that V (of the total pressurized system) is allowed to increase? Doesn’t this have the same effect as allowing P to increase, i.e. increased V means more total energy is being allowed into the system, therefore more T required to keep it puffed up?

  73. colliemum says:

    Konrad says, January 24, 2012 at 9:03 am:

    Dans’ comment may be a gem, but after reviewing some of the comments at WUWT, I’m not sure casting pearls before Joel will do much good…

    For expressing my long-held, secret feelings so well, Konrad: + 1000

  74. tchannon says:

    Roger Andrews says:
    January 23, 2012 at 8:48 pm
    “The EMULATE results aren’t “published as actual station data”. They’re published as a gridded data set based on station data, and there’s been no attempt to cover anything up.”

    I have evidence to the contrary but is an awkward situation because I do not want to hurt third parties by naming them. This came to light when I followed the notes on a station dataset.

    As I read it there are a core set of stations which are some kind of basis for the gridded data. Stations in area which are not a core station are then adjusted to broadly match. What I don’t know is the extent of this.

    I’ll email you with more details.

    The whole thing doesn’t matter except as a warning to be very careful over assuming data is what was measured at an individual station.

  75. Roger Andrews says:

    Hi Tim

    Email reply on its way.

    [ inline comment to keep things short here, received.
    The original station I was talking about shows the adjusted dataset but makes it clear on the web page EMULATE is involved. Roger points out the EMULATE site shows both before and after data.

    The actual dataset textual context includes this statement
    “A quality control verification of the data and comparison with other compilations of
    xxxxxx data and nearby sites was made by Rob Allan and Tara Ansell of the UK Met

    It does not state the data has been altered. Other text perhaps can be imputed to mean the EMULATE adjustment method has been applied to the data but there is no actual statement to that effect.


  76. Tenuc says:

    Thanks, Konrad, for providing a nice simple experiment which proves the link between pressure and density when to bodies of air receive the same amount of heat. Even Joel cannot provide a good reasoned explanation of why the experiment isn’t valid and he is in denial about the result.

    Couple of quick questions – did you check the time it took for each bottle to return to the same temperature once the source of heat was removed?

    Could you repeat the same experiment using helium, which will be both dry and free of CO2, thus preventing people trying to argue other effects are skewing the result? (Helium is readily available for a few quid from your local party shop)

  77. Ned Nikolov says:

    Great Experiment, Konrad!

  78. Konrad says:

    My thanks to everyone for their comments and interest in the experiment. My apologies for the slow and patchy responses. I have got snowed under with work, and am only catching up with my phone while commuting. I hope to have more time this weekend.

  79. Konrad says:

    I hope to be able to test with other gases, however my next step will be to try to achive a higher pressure differential. I also have some CO2 bike tire inflator cylinders. While helium is available, divers who use rebreathers report very high conductive losses when using helium mixes.

    As to cooling rates, when I first tried the experiment without pressure regulation, the high pressure bottle appeared to cool more swiftly. This is less noticeable in the regulated rig.

  80. hotrod (larry L) says:

    As I commented over on the other forum I think the issue folks are missing is as follows:

    What the recent theories regarding gravity induced temperature gradient are really saying is that the ideal gas law as commonly stated is incomplete. A factor is left out because in most terrestrial situations it is irrelevantly small.

    They are implying the ideal gas law should be stated as:

    PV = NkT +(delta PEg)

    where PEg = the change in gravitational potential energy.

    If you radically increase the gravitational potential energy of a mass of gas, you have changed the total energy in the system unless you give up an equivalent amount of energy in the form of temperature.


  81. […] Konrad Hartmann: Experiment to determine the effect of pressure on temperature in Earth’s&nbsp… […]

  82. Tilo Reber says:

    Konrad: “4. The rig bottles were then shielded from the sun and their temperatures equalised using a small fan”

    Konrad, I have one question, and maybe one request. You say that you equalised the temperature using a small fan. So I take it that the temperature reading for both bottles at the time that you exposed them to the sun was the same. What I’m wondering is what would happen if you let the two bottles reach internal equilibrium, with no exposure to light, and the only source of heat being conduction through the walls of the bottles. Do they then reach the same temperature? If you haven’t done this yet, I would request that you do; and let us know the results.

    I’m trying to understand the physical basis for what is happening in those bottles. It seems like the molecules in both bottles should be capturing radiative energy from the sun. But I don’t see any reason why molecules in one bottle should be capturing more than in the other. So if both sets of molecules have the same kinetic energy, the extra temperature would be due to the fact that there are more molecules in the higher pressured bottle – meaning more summed kinetic energy. Then, if we allow conduction to be the only means of energy transfer into the bottles, would it make a difference. Because then if the summed kinetic energy within the bottles was the same, it would seem that the kinetic energy of the individual molecules in the pressured bottle would have to be lower. And I don’t know why it would be lower. In any case, I don’t pretend to know what the answer is, but it would be nice if you checked it out. Thanks.

  83. tallbloke says:

    Joel Shore says:
    January 26, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Tilo Reber says:

    Okay, let’s move on. Why do you consider Konrad Hartmann’s experiment “ill conceived and carried out”.

    The main problem with the experiment is it doesn’t show what people are claiming it shows. Assuming he did the experiment correctly, he showed that a box filled with air at elevated pressure and exposed to sunlight was at a higher temperature than the box not at elevated pressure.

    However, he has not in any way bothered to figure out what conventional physics would predict for this case. His boxes contain air that has greenhouse gases in it, for example. The one at higher pressure will have more greenhouse gases…and will also have broader absorption bands.

    One does not abandon a century of physics because someone does an experiment and doesn’t know how to intelligently interpret the results!

    Ha! aha, ahahhahhahaahaha! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

  84. Dan in Nevada says:

    Tilo Reber says:
    January 26, 2012 at 3:29 am
    “I’m trying to understand the physical basis for what is happening in those bottles…”

    Me too, Tilo. I can almost wrap my head around it, but I can’t quite grasp it. A solid grounding in physics would no doubt help.

    Here’s as far as I get:

    For the sake of simplicity, say that bottle B has twice the air as bottle A.

    If A has n number of air molecules, then B has 2n. Therefore, B would have exactly double the heat capacity (Cp) as A at the same pressure.

    But they aren’t at the same pressure. B starts out at double the absoloute pressure as A, therefore bottle B would require something less than double the energy as A to reach the same temperature (does the ratio of specific heats enter into this? For air, the value is about 1.4).

    At some point, power entering and leaving both bottles equilibrates. Each are absorbing the same amount of energy and each are emitting the same amount. For bottle B, it has taken less energy per unit of mass to reach the same temperature as bottle A when A is at thermal equilibrium. But A will reach that temperature well before B.

    At the same time B has been warming up, pressure has been increasing as well and at the same rate (ideal gas law). As the pressure increases, even less energy is needed to raise B’s temperature per unit of mass.

    Here’s where my ability to think about this breaks down. Because B has had to absorb less energy per unit of mass to reach the same temperature as A, it “feels” reasonable to say that B still has a way to go before it starts emitting the same amount of power as it is recieving. But feelings aren’t science. Maybe if I had more time to think about it. But since N&Z are going to be offering a clarification, I think I’m better off waiting.


  85. tchannon says:

    Question: Am I correct in stating the following?

    The experiment is invalid.

    One system is constant pressure, open to the atmosphere.

    One system is variable pressure because of the restricted gas volume. It should be maintained at constant pressure..

    If a family of plots was produced one will follow square law, a spring.


  86. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Go back to the water bottle and bricks……………………….gravity causes the mass of the bricks to maintain a CONSTANT pressure on the water bottle that maintains a CONSTANT pressure in the second, pressurized PET cell. The elastic water bottle expands and contracts to maintain the same pressure in the system. Heating will decrease the molecule numbers in the PET bottles slightly and DECREASE the effect as the volume increases from heating and it moves into the water bottle. Ah yes, all springs are progressive, more or less. Both PET cells have no change in pressure due to heating as they both vent. The experiment is mechanically sound, Actually elegant.

    HE could have added water columns to measure none existence pressure changes. Very precise and simple to make. pg

  87. Konrad says:

    Joel – “One does not abandon a century of physics because someone does an experiment and doesn’t know how to intelligently interpret the results!”

    I would say the results of the experiment with regard to the rabid responses of Willis and Joel at WUWT are very easily interpreted. If I recall correctly, those two fools lost their “LWIR has the same effect over the oceans as it does over land” claim to a roll of microwave safe cling wrap. Way to go guys 🙂

  88. Konrad says:

    I have had time to run further tests using the same rig. With regard to allowing the bottles to reach equilibrium away from sunlight, both equalise at the external air temperature.
    I have run further tests with pure CO2. The first was to run the same experiment again. One bottle at atmospheric pressure, the other maintained at a higher constant pressure. The results were as before, with the higher pressure bottle rising to a higher temperature when exposed to sunlight. The only difference noted was that the higher pressure bottle appeared to cool more swiftly when the rig was removed from sunlight.
    I conducted a further test in which both bottles were at atmospheric pressure but one contained air and the other 100% CO2. I was unable to measure any temperature differential between the bottles. They both heated at the same rate. I swapped bottles and probe thermometers. I tried sunlight and then a flood lamp (more IR) without success. If CO2 has some effect between 25 and 50C it is below the 0.1C resolution of my thermometers..

    @ tchannon
    The hot water bottle and the bricks do ensure a constant pressure in the high pressure bottle. The volume will adjust as the temperature increases.

    @P.G. Sharrow
    Water columns are a good idea, but I would need a U shape over a metre in height to achieve similar pressures.

    I’m sure a simple LOL or ROTFL would be an elegant sufficiency 🙂

  89. Dan in Nevada says:

    tchannon says:
    January 28, 2012 at 2:51 am
    Question: Am I correct in stating the following?

    T, I don’t think the experiment is invalid, just more complicated than it has to be. That is, harder to draw specific conclusions from. I’m looking at it like:


    therefore P=nRT/V (the basis of N&Z, where P remains constant and T & V vary in proportion)

    and (equally valid)

    V=nRT/P (Konrad’s version, where V is constant and T & P vary in proportion. Much easier to experiment with.)

    Except that P isn’t really allowed to vary past a certain point. That makes it harder to know what P would have done relative to T had it not been regulated.

    Nevertheless, Konrad has shown that, perhaps counterintuitively, the concept is valid. In my mind, much more than N&Z’s critics have done. Also, maybe I’m wrong because I don’t fully understand what is going on here and Konrad is seeing something I’m not. I’m very hopeful I’ll understand it better when N&Z respond with their explanation.

  90. Bob Fernley-Jones says:

    On January 23, @ 6:13 am, WUWT time: I enquired of our great Oracle, Joel Shore, to elaborate on his assertion on Konrad’s experiment:

    …one poorly conceived and carried out experiment does not overturn more than a century’s worth of physics even when it tells you what you want to believe…

    Still no response despite previous hearty exchanges with him on that thread.

  91. […] appears that the conclusions of this experiment are incorrect, that it has not proved that the higher temperature reached in a container at a […]

  92. Tenuc says:

    Bob Fernley-Jones says:
    January 29, 2012 at 3:45 am
    “On January 23, @ 6:13 am, WUWT time: I enquired of our great Oracle, Joel Shore, to elaborate on his assertion on Konrad’s experiment:

    …one poorly conceived and carried out experiment does not overturn more than a century’s worth of physics even when it tells you what you want to believe…

    Still no response despite previous hearty exchanges with him on that thread.”

    Perhaps the penny has dropped for Joel and he’s having a think about it. I’ve thought about Konrad’s simple but elegant experiment and still can’t find any problems with it – although I would still like to see a repeat using dry pure helium gas, just to keep some of the risible excuses from the doubters to bed… 🙂

  93. […] regulars will remember that a few months back, contributor Konrad Hartmann performed an experiment using pet bottles in direct sunlight. There was some constructive criticism of his experiment, and […]